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Euromoney, April 2017

Nobody turns 50 without a few aches and pains. You can comfort yourself with the accumulation of wisdom and experience along the way, but the big day tends to come with a bloated creakiness and a sense of doubt about your relevance to an ever-modernizing age. Happy birthday, Asian Development Bank!

When the great and the good of Asia-Pacific policy and development gather in Yokohama for the ADB annual meeting in May, they will be doing so for the 50th time. They will meet in a Japan and an Asia quite different to those in which a 1963 UN conference set out the vision for a new multilateral to alleviate poverty and help with rural development in, what was then, a largely agricultural continent.

So, how has the ADB done so far? If poverty alleviation is the measure, then there is evident progress. If it is infrastructure development then the funding gap, by the ADB’s own research, is getting worse, not better. The ADB might score well for reach and environmental commitment, poorly for speed and efficiency. You might call it steady, but you would not call it nimble.

The appearance of the Asian International Infrastructure Bank in China offers a leaner, more focused alternative to the Japan-led ADB. A younger and sprightlier version with a sharper mandate; the new multilateral also hints at structural questions about the voting composition of the ADB in a modern continent led by China and India.

“This is a good moment,” says ADB president Takehiko Nakao, “to think about what the ADB is.”

read the whole article here

and read an interview with AIIB president Jin Liqun here

Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Chris is a journalist specialising in business and financial journalism across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He is Asia editor for Euromoney magazine and has written for publications including the Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Forbes, Asiamoney, the Australian Financial Review, Discovery Channel Magazine, Qantas: The Australian Way and BRW. He is the author of No More Worlds to Conquer, published by HarperCollins.

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